ELLIJAY, Ga. – Several warrants were served earlier this month and two suspects have been arrested in regards to accusations of child abuse.
Laura Suzan Schwartz had warrants issued for Cruelty to Children, Battery Family Violence, and False Imprisonment Family Violence.
Michael Wayne Maupin had warrants issued for Cruelty to Children, False Imprisonment Family Violence, Aggravated Battery, and Battery Family Violence.
According to the warrants issued, the two allegedly kept three children, a 1 -year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 6-year-old, in unsanitary conditions. With names redacted, the warrants also allege that one of the kids was kept “in a dog cage locking him inside for a restraining/punishment device and to use as his bed for sleeping.” Each suspect also faces allegations of striking a child.
Further, Maupin is alleged to have used his hands to strangulate a child and to have wrapped a belt around one child’s neck and suspending the child off of the ground with it, also causing strangulation and causing the child to pass out.
While these allegations are on the warrants, the incident report filed by officers only officially states the general Cruelty to Children charges. According to the report, officers arrived on scene with a representative of the Department of Family and Childrens Services (DFACS) to question the couple on the allegations. The report states that while the couple denied the allegations at first.
As the 6-year-old stated he was very thirsty, one of the officers offered a water, a blanket, a stuffed animal, and stickers. As the DFACS representative spoke with the child and the deputy spoke with parents, the representative came and “informed the parents that the child just stated that he “is put in the cage” when he gets in trouble and she asked the parents to be honest with her regarding the situation so that Department of Family and Children’s Services could provide them with the best possible resource to better the disciple [discipline] that is given and that they would come up with different things that they needed to work with to help the 6 year old and the parents and other children.”
The officers pressed further and the report says, “Mr. Maupin then admitted that yes they do use the dog cage on occasions for discipline and restraint for the 6 year old son.”
While the bond hearing for the case was originally to be held today, it has now been moved to September 10, 2019. Stay with FYN as we offer updates on this story.